The Instigator
riosk1
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
DaveCandia
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Should Socrates Drink The Hemlock?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/9/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,001 times Debate No: 31116
Debate Rounds (4)
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riosk1

Con

I believe that Socrates should't have drank the hemlock. Many think he should of as David Hume states in "On Suicide" that "If suicide be criminal, it must be a transgression of our duty to either God, our neighbor, or ourselves." Thus meaning that Socrates must not believe in a God for him to kill himself with no guilt. However in "Apology" Socrates makes refference to his spiritual teachings and spirit guide who he feels watches him, and also states he does believe in a God. With that being said Socrates would do a criminal act of suicide against a God and thus made the right choice in not drinking the hemlock.
DaveCandia

Pro

Socrates choosing to drink the hemlock was the right decision to free himself of this cruel world he is in, and would not be an act against the Gods under these circumstances. In the Apology, by Plato, Socrates states, "Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is a great reason to hope that death is a good, for one of two things: - either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or , as men say there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another." With drinking the hemlock, Socrates stands by his word to the very end. And as it is said that this would be a criminal act against the Gods that he believes in, this is false because the world he is living in everyday treats him cruel and is unjust. The Gods in this instance would want Socrates to do what is best for him and that would be leaving this world and hopefully, as Socrates stated, the suicidal act would bring him to a different world and his soul could be at rest
Debate Round No. 1
riosk1

Con

Socrates was one for teaching, and I quote, "the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." He would have gone against his own teachings as he believed death should be an unplanned event, and drinking the poisoned drink would have gone against all he stated as suicide is normally a planned event. He always preached how death should come peacefully and unexpectedly. Also if you recall Socrates was sentanced to die anyway which would have made drinking the hemlock unnecessary and hypocritcal to his teaching.
DaveCandia

Pro

As my opponent has stated that he would be going against his own teachings, did you forget that Socrates was a firm believer in the unexpected? Socrates states, "I only know what I dont know." With Socrates saying this he is telling us that he cannot fear death because he does not know what he would be fearing. With Socrates not knowing what death is he does not know if it could be a good thing or a bad thing. And yes as you state drinking the hemlock would make Socrates death a planned event and he would go against his own teachings, however; he would end up going against his teachings alive regardless because he would not be able to live the life he wanted. If socrates chose not drink the poison, he would have to run and live a life not worth living where he is hated. And as I state again, Socrates only knows what he doesn't know, so death would be the best option in this instance because he would possibly be able to live a better life somewhere else.
Debate Round No. 2
riosk1

Con

As my opponent stated, Socrates was indeed a believer in the unexpected. However it is still hard to argue how drinking the hemlock would have benefited the situation. Socrates believed in dying in a peaceful way, so how would he have known that drinking the hemlock would be peaceful or not? As you stated Socrates "only knows what he doesn't know" so how would he know whether drinking the hemlock would help the issue? It simply doesn't make philisophical sense for him to go against all he preached against rather than let nature take its course.
DaveCandia

Pro

If Socrates were to "let nature take its course," as my opponent stated, he would live in a life of fear and on the run. As Socrates states in the Crito, "Now consider whether we still hold to the belief that we should set the highest value, not on living, but on living well?" If Socrates was to escape prison, he would not be living well. The world Socrates is in is cruel to him and he is on trial for a charge that he does not agree with, and if he were to not drink the hemlock, he would have to go against his own beliefs and would not be able to preach what he believed in anymore. By drinking the hemlock, Socrates is released from the state of being he is in where he is mistreated. By drinking the hemlock Socrates can hope to be granted a life somewhere else where he can live the life he wants to live, and not live the way everyone else wants him to. Drinking the hemlock grants Socrates freedom, refusal to drink the hemlock leaves Socrates in the prison state he is currently in.
Debate Round No. 3
riosk1

Con

My opponext states how the world Socrates lives in is a cruel world who would mistreat him if he continued to live. Again, there could have been other ways for Socrates to reach peace in ways that were in lines of his teaching. He states "I will not say of myself that I deserve any evil, or propose any penalty. Why should I? Because I am afraid of the penalty of death which Meletus proposes? When I do not know whether death is a good or an evil, why should I propose a penalty which would certainly be an evil? Shall I say imprisonment? And why should I live in prison, and be the slave of the magistrates of the year - of the Eleven? Or shall the penalty be a fine, and imprisonment until the fine is paid?" He could have chosen a path which was in line for what he believed in and not going against his own beliefs.
DaveCandia

Pro

Although Socrates is saying that he does not deserve any evil set on to him, this is going to happen regardless. If Socrates chooses to continue living this life of torture the evil will not just go away, and in Socrates state, death is the best decision to escape. "What good will you do yourself or your friends by breaking your agreement? It is tolerably certain that they, or their part, will at least run the risk of exile, and of losing their civil rights, or of forfeiting their property." As Socrates says this in the Crito, he is showing that his refusal to drink the hemlock will not only imprison him, but also his family and friends. Socrates suicide will be the best case scenario, and help everyone around him and not just himself. By freeing himself of the cruel world he lives in, he will in turn free everyone else who is close to him.
Debate Round No. 4
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